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Windows 7: Non-system partition no longer formatted after re-installing WIndows

29 Dec 2011   #1

Windows 7 Ultimate 32 bit
 
 
Non-system partition no longer formatted after re-installing WIndows

I have an Asus 1215n netbook. It came with Windows 7 Home Premium installed. The drive came with the following partitions:

100 GB Windows 7
15 GB Asus Expressgate (a quick-boot minimal OS)
118 GB Empty partition
15 MB (unknown)

I had been using TrueCrypt to encrypt the 100 GB system partition, which required that I enter a password before booting into windows.

Other than that I never touched it until now. Today I decided to upgrade to Windows 7 Ultimate, so after making sure everything I wanted to keep was on the 118 GB partition, I booted into the Windows 7 setup, formatted *only the 100 GB partition* from within the setup, and selected it as the volume to which to install.

Upon restarting, the third partition wasn't shown in My Computer. I went to Administrative Tools -> Computer Management -> Storage -> Disk Management, which shows the following partitions:

100 GB Healthy
15 GB Healthy
118 GB Free space
20 MB Healthy

I've done these exact steps in the past with similar configurations, and have never had this happen to me before. I can only surmise that this is due to having had a TrueCrypt boot manager, but beyond that I am uncertain.

Any suggestions as to how I might be able to recover this partition?

My System SpecsSystem Spec
.

29 Dec 2011   #2

Microsoft Community Contributor Award Recipient

Windows 7 SP1, Home Premium, 64-bit
 
 

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by gadgetier View Post

Before:

100 GB Windows 7
15 GB Asus Expressgate (a quick-boot minimal OS)
118 GB Empty partition
15 MB (unknown)

After:

100 GB Healthy
15 GB Healthy
118 GB Free space
20 MB Healthy

Any suggestions as to how I might be able to recover this partition?
Can you clarify a bit?

You list 4 before and 4 after.

Which is the problem partition?

Do you mean that the 118 GB that was "empty" before is now "free space"?

Some drive letters or points of reference would help.

The 15 MB partition grew to 20?
My System SpecsSystem Spec
29 Dec 2011   #3

Windows 7 Ultimate 32 bit
 
 

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by ignatzatsonic View Post

Which is the problem partition?

Do you mean that the 118 GB that was "empty" before is now "free space"?
That's right. It was originally empty when I got the computer, but it was full of documents before I decided to format the system partition. Now it's listed as "free space".


Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by ignatzatsonic View Post
Some drive letters or points of reference would help.
C: is the 100GB system drive
D: is the 118GB storage drive, which I'd like to recover

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by ignatzatsonic View Post
The 15 MB partition grew to 20?
Sorry. I couldn't recall exactly how big it was, so I looked it up, and just picked the first reference I found. It's 20MB now, so it was probably 20MB when I got it, as well.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
.


29 Dec 2011   #4

Microsoft Community Contributor Award Recipient

Windows 7 SP1, Home Premium, 64-bit
 
 

Well, there are partition recovery tools and there are file recovery tools. I'm not sure which you need.

The partition tool most often used here is the bootable disk of Partition Wizard, found here:

Partition Wizard Bootable CD allows user to boot computer directly to manage partition.

I'd download it and burn it to a disk and wait for other suggestions.

If you are feeling brave, you might want to boot from it and see how intuitive it is for recovering a partition---I've never used it for that purpose.

The most often mentioned file recovery tool around here is Recuva, but I'd hold off on that as I don't think it recovers partitions.

Does your new install work and does your PC seem to be operating OK otherwise? I have no idea what happened.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
29 Dec 2011   #5

Windows 7 Ultimate 32 bit
 
 

Never heard of Partition Wizard, I'll look it into it.

I've used Recuva before, but looking at the features on their website (Recuva - Features), it doesn't seem to support recovering whole partitions. Worst comes to worst I'll just recover each file individually, but I'd prefer to just fix the partition as is.

Everything else is working fine. I'm currently running TestDisk (TestDisk Step By Step - CGSecurity), and I also have a copy of Active@ Partition Recovery I'm going to try.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
29 Dec 2011   #6
Microsoft MVP

 

I would not try to recover the files piecemeal before running free Partition Wizard bootable CD's Partition Recovery Wizard which has restored lost partitions nearly every time we've used it here.

You don't say whether the Ultimate installation completed successfully. It could have been upgraded in-place using Anytime Upgrade just by inserting the Ultimate key to unlock the extra features.

Backing up your files to a partition during install is fraught with these dangers, and cannot be relied upon.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
29 Dec 2011   #7

Windows 7 Ultimate 32 bit
 
 

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by gregrocker View Post
I would not try to recover the files piecemeal before running free Partition Wizard bootable CD's Partition Recovery Wizard which has restored lost partitions nearly every time we've used it here.
I'm currently running the Partition Recovery Wizard, albeit not through a bootable medium, since I'm not trying to recover a system partition.

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by gregrocker View Post
You don't say whether the Ultimate installation completed successfully. It could have been upgraded in-place using Anytime Upgrade just by inserting the Ultimate key to unlock the extra features.
The installation completed successfully. It was not an upgrade (I formatted the original system partition).
My System SpecsSystem Spec
29 Dec 2011   #8
Microsoft MVP

 

We see this where the data partition just disappears sometimes during install. I have no idea why. But it's enough to warn others not to rely on a storage partition that isn't backed up - which should be a general rule of thumb anyway.

Anyone have any theories as to how the data storage partition was wiped during install here?

A clue is that it is now Free Space which mean it had been a Logical partition and was deleted. Not much to go on.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
30 Dec 2011   #9

Microsoft Community Contributor Award Recipient

Windows 7 64 Bit Home Premium SP1
 
 

One thing to try:
Open Disk Management > Click on Action menu > Rescan Disks.

Here is a hypothesis (from an OS dummy!)
I recently learned why Windows disk management creates that odd 10MB free space at the end of a hard drive: to use for converting basic/dynamic disks.

I was recently using Partition Magic to resize some partitions on a single hard drive before I upgraded the system from XP to Windows 7. While doing this I noticed the 10MBs free at the end and just decided that could go. Then afterward found out why it was there and decided to add it back. I thought that this would be simple. 10MB? A couple of seconds, right? Wrong. That F: partition had a lot of (backed up) data on it and the resize took forever.

So here is what I am thinking: Partition Wizard had to rebuild the entire Master File Table for all of the files on that expanded partition just for a change of 10MB.

So if the Windows 7 installation changed the size of that free space (for whatever reason), stealing space from the 118GB partition, that may have affected the MFT.

If that is the case, does anyone know how to save, recover or repair the MFT?
My System SpecsSystem Spec
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 Non-system partition no longer formatted after re-installing WIndows





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